“Uncharted territory”: What’s next in an unresolved sheriff’s race, contested for years

Local News

Two uncounted ballots propelled a three-year-long recount that was finalized on Friday.

Macon County Circuit Court Associate Judge Anna Benjamin declared Jim Root the winner of the Macon County Sheriff’s race from 2018, a spot currently held by Sheriff Tony Brown.

So, why did the ruling take two and a half years? It was a number of factors, including the pandemic. Root’s lawyer said this type of election contest is just like any other lawsuit in Illinois, it’s a judicial process. Plus, manually counting ballots is time-consuming.

The initial count put Sheriff Brown in his current position by one vote. Now, the count shows Jim Root is the winner by 16 votes.

Brown has 30 days to appeal the ruling from the circuit court judge. The acting sheriff could decide to appeal the ruling and request a stay, asking the judge to hold off on enforcing the decision until an appeal process is complete.

“It is our position that Jim Root has been declared the winner and there should be no reason to delay any further, him taking office,” commented John Fogarty, Root’s Attorney.

The Macon County Sheriff’s Office did not comment on whether or not there will be an appeal. There is no timeframe set by state law that dictates when Root would be sworn in, according to multiple attornies consulted on this story.

Root’s lawyer says he is waiting until next week and the next move from Brown, before taking any further action, including scheduling a swearing-in ceremony.

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